Is it wrong to correct, improve, revise translations?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Logos1560, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    Is it wrong for believers to attempt to correct, improve, or revise earlier translations of the Bible in their language?

    I ask this question because some seem to assume, imply, or think that it is wrong to do so.

    In speaking at the recent Sword Scripture Text Conference, Norris Belcher was reported to be "pointing out the inconsistency in saying that we believe that we believe we have the inspired, preserved Word of God in our hands and then go about correcting it or improving upon it by going to the Greek." The person making this report maintained that the "purpose" of the KJV translators "was not to 'improve' or 'correct' these translations" [the pre-1611 English Bibles of which the KJV was a revision].

    The opinion that it is wrong to attempt to improve and correct earlier translations would seem to be contrary to the facts of the history of our English Bible. A study or examination of the history of the KJV would clearly reveal that the mark, aim, or purpose of the KJV translators in making another translation was to attempt to improve, correct, or make better the earlier translations. In their preface to the 1611, the KJV translators actually wrote that their mark or goal was to make the good earlier English translations "better." One definition of improve is "to make better." By attempting to make them better, the KJV translators were clearly attempting to improve and correct them.

    If it was actually wrong to attempt to improve and correct earlier translations, a consistent application of that argument would demand that the 1611 KJV should never have been made.

    It is a fact that the KJV is a revision of the pre-1611 English Bibles [Tyndale's to Bishops']. The KJV was more of a revision than it was a new translation of the preserved Scriptures in the original languages. The title page of the 1611 KJV acknowledged that the former translations were "diligently compared and revised."

    Perhaps the main purpose in making a revision is to attempt to make better or to improve the earlier one or ones. Making a revision usually also includes the making of corrections.

    The 1828 Webster's Dictionary defined revision as "the act of reviewing; review; re-examination for correction; as the revision of a book." Roget's Thesaurus listed "revision" and "correction" as synonyms. Rodale’s Synonym Finder gave “revised or new edition” as a synonym for “revision“ (p. 1036). A correct understanding of the fact that the KJV is a revision of earlier English Bibles would reveal that the purpose of the KJV translators was to attempt to "improve" or "correct" those translations.

    Whether they were 100% successful in their mark or goal is another question.
     
  2. TCGreek

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    Unfortunately, some might think so. One just has to look at the history of Bible translation to see that it's not WRONG. :thumbs:
     
  3. cowboymatt

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    Of course it is not wrong to correct, improve, revise earlier translations of the Bible! This position, of course, requires one to not believe that any English transaltion is inspired over against the others, so some around here will disagree.

    But there are many good reasons to correct, improve, and revise earlier English Bibles. 1) The English language is always changing, thus updating the English of our translations makes sense. In fact, many pastors I know were so happy when their congregations allowed them to move away from the KJV because they spent half their sermons explaining the wording of the KJV! 2) We are constantly finding new information that helps us better translate Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. This new information includes the discovery of more manuscripts, better understanding of grammar, syntax, etc, and a deeper understanding of other texts in the same language of the Bible or cognate languages. 3) It aids evangelism. Some people are simply turned off by the old and stilted English of older translations. Do we really want our preferences to hinder people from responding to the gospel?

    There are many more reasons, I'm sure...but those are a few that I could think of off the top of my head.
     
  4. Logos1560

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    In their preface to the 1611, the KJV translators stated: "if any thing be halting, or superflous, or not so agreeable to the original, the same may be corrected and the truth set in place."

    In that same preface, the KJV translators wrote: "For to whom ever was it imputed for a fault (by such as were wise) to go over that which he had done, and to amend it where he saw cause?"

    Norris Belcher and some other KJV defenders would seem to impute as a fault what the KJV translators regarded as a good thing to do.
     
  5. Logos1560

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    Yes, the KJV translators themselves attempted to update and make better [improve] the language of the Bishops' Bible of which it was officially a revision.

    Here are some examples from the book of Judges where the KJV translators seemed to update or make simpler the language of the Bishops' Bible.

    Jud. 1:28 waxed mighty (Bishops) was strong (KJV)
    Jud. 2:9 in the coasts (Bishops) in the border (KJV)
    Jud. 2:14 waxed hot (Bishops) was hot (KJV)
    Jud. 3:4 to wit whether (Bishops) to know whether (KJV)
    Jud. 3:15 a man lame of his right hand (Bishops) a man lefthanded (KJV)
    Jud. 3:23 gat him out (Bishops) went forth (KJV)
    Jud. 4:21 he slumbered sore (Bishops) he was fast asleep (KJV)
    Jud. 5:17 tarried in his decayed places (Bishops) abode in his breaches (KJV)
    Jud. 6:8 I fet you from Egypt (Bishops) I brought you up from Egypt (KJV)
    Jud. 6:9 And I rid you (Bishops) And I delivered you (KJV)
    Jud. 6:26 in a convenient place (Bishops) in the ordered place (KJV)
    Jud. 7:13 and me thought that a cake (Bishops) and, lo, a cake (KJV)
    Jud. 8:13 afore the sun was up (Bishops) before the sun was up (KJV)
    Jud. 9:26 gat them to Shechem (Bishops) went over to Shechem (KJV)
    Jud. 9:29 Make thine host greater (Bishops) Increase thine army (KJV)
    Jud. 9:48 speed your selves (Bishops) make haste (KJV)
    Jud. 9:54 man that bare his harness (Bishops) man his armourbearer (KJV)
    Jud. 10:11 Did not I rid you (Bishops) Did not I deliver you (KJV)
    Jud. 11:26 in all that space (Bishops) within that time (KJV)
    Jud. 11:38 maidenhead (Bishops) virginity (KJV)
    Jud. 12:4 runagates (Bishops) fugitives (KJV)
    Jud. 13:16 Manoah wist not (Bishops) Manoah knew not (KJV)
    Jud. 14:4 father and mother wist not (Bishops) father and his mother knew not (KJV)
    Jud. 14:8 And within a short space after (Bishops) And after a time (KJV)
    Jud. 15:11 Wottest thou not (Bishops) Knowest thou not (KJV)
    Jud. 17:8 find a convenient place (Bishops) find a place (KJV)
    Jud. 19:15 turned thitherward (Bishops) turned aside thither (KJV)
    Jud. 20:10 abomination (Bishops) folly (KJV)
    Jud. 20:45 to the wilderness ward (Bishops) toward the wilderness (KJV)
     
  6. cowboymatt

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    And almost every other English Bible has done the same to one before it.

    KJV --> RSV --> NRSV

    NIV --> TNIV

    etc.
     
  7. Mexdeaf

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    Our fundamentalist forefathers thought nothing of saying (while proclaiming the Holy Writ): "A better word here might be... ." Frankly I thought (still do think so) that was just a part of part of what the Bible calls teaching.

    I am of the opinion also that many pastors are of the KJVO persuasion because they are afraid of what might happen if their folks started reading the Bible for themselves and comparing their sermons with what they read. (Sorry for the hijack.)
     
  8. Pastor_Bob

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    Unreasonably absurd!
     
  9. Salamander

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    Amen! We WANT our people to READ the BIBLE!

    We WANT the PEOPLE to comprehend what is the height the depth and the breadth!:godisgood:
     
  10. Mexdeaf

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    Hey, it is only an opinion and observation. No more unreasonable or absurd than some KJVO sermons I have heard in my life.
     
  11. rbell

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    Just wondering...can something be reasonably absurd? :D
     
  12. Logos1560

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    Do you want people to read the Bible with words and language that they understand?

    Do you want people to comprehend the height, the depth, and the breadth of the meaning of the words in the original languages or do you want them limited or bound to the interpretations of Church of England scholars in 1611?
     
  13. Pastor_Bob

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    When is the last time you had trouble understanding your KJV? Need I remind you that the MVs are full of words that need further clarification. They are no different than the KJV in this regard.

    Why is it when we discuss the KJV translators, their doctrinal position comes into play, but when we discuss Westcott and Hort, they are simply scholars that have laid aside their theological bias?
     
  14. Rippon

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  15. StefanM

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    A major problem with the KJV is not the use of obviously archaic words that would require the use of a dictionary, but the use of words that do not have the same meaning that they did in 1611. People think they understand these words because they look just like modern English, but they are mistaken.
     
  16. Rippon

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    Yea verily ! I really would like to take a survey of a number of select verses in the KJV and have KJV'ers reword them on their own without peeking at modern versions to see what they mean !
     
  17. Rippon

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    Well , the Revised Version was a product of their labors ( and many others ). Demonstrate the theological biases that crept into that . BTW , wouldn't you say that the RV was closer to the 1789 Blayney edition which you use than the NASBU or NKJ ?
     
    #17 Rippon, Jan 26, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2008
  18. StefanM

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    Because I know of no one who claims a special, singular holy unction upon Westcott and Hort. In addition, I know of no one who says that Wescott and Hort were 100% perfect in their work.
     
  19. Salamander

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    Sure do, that's why we teach English and have dictionaries.

    Your answer to the following should answer that question: do you want people to have more or less of the word of God?
     
  20. Salamander

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    :sleeping_2:
     

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